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Living Hope: Living with Disappointment


Disappointment: To fail to meet the expectation of hope. When hopes or expectation are prevented from being realized.

Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. A feeling of trust. Want something to happen or be the case.

The common sign for hope is the rainbow but have you ever really thought about it? I was pondering it today. I mean the rainbow is literally vapor and light. Neither of which you can tangibly grab hold of, which makes hope more and more a mystery. There is a verse in Romans 8 v 24, "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what she sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." The rainbow is fleeting, so to me that makes its helpful in the context of the verse. Hope can't be seen but I think we all have some understanding of it because of vapour and light colliding to form an intentional trail of colour. When it can be seen we gasp and smile, left only then to remember.

A number of years ago my friend gave me a piece of art that she had created. It is the word HOPE made up of hundreds of little circles, this same friend is now very sick in hospital and we are all holding onto hope, in prayer for her healing. When she gave me the gift she said how the word hope always reminded her of me, and so in some ways I know even today that hope holds onto me as much as I hold on to it. It's all a bit of a mystery really (can I get an amen), because a number of weeks ago I was faced with a disappointment that kind of floored me for a few days, and guess what, this same friend was the first person I spoke to on the phone. I was due to fly to the USA to connect with a company I have been freelance writing for in California, I was also deeply in need of being with some good friends after such a year of isolation. Bags were packed long before the flight, letters and visas were gathered, plans were made, and then boom, you can't fly! Those best laid plans didn't workout and I was faced with a choice. Feel the disappointment, remain curious to the closed door, and get as present as possible, or don't. Just a couple of weeks later my friend found herself in hospital on life support.

The little circles that make up the word hope have followed me my whole life. Hope is another verb, it's fluid and un-grabbable and is made up of all the moments, experiences, blessings, losses and disappointments. It's in the moments of disappointment that I have learnt that to be strong is to be vulnerable, and to be vulnerable is to walk humbly. Dealing with disappointment is an awkward invitation. Every feeling under the sun comes up and I have found myself asking the wildest of questions when "disappointment fails to meet the expectation of hope."

Can I trust God?
Can I trust my relationship with God?
How connected is what I do to how worthy I feel?
What does it mean to desire vs yearn?
What is this disappointment asking of me?
Is there something bigger going on?

I feel like hope and disappointment aren't so much in tension but can be held in our hands at the same time. They are both invisible until they are made visible and they both have the power to get you "present" in time. It seems that it really is all in the timing! To see and hear, to move, to stop; to trust God IS to be in the moment, understanding that the Kingdom of God is not a construct within time but is an experience of eternity in the present moment. Hope is hearing a buzzing sound and turning round to see a bumble bee bathing itself in the pollen of a bright yellow poppy. Hope is crying out loud at how hard things are and how scared one feels. Hope is hidden in every moment of our day and it is only disappointment that jars the process, if we let it. That being said I also believe that I learnt something new in recent disappointments and that was to actually let them flow through me and out the other side. Let them be as much a verb as hope is because walking with God is a verb. God is a verb. We are a verb. Don't let the movement stop even in the stillness. Keep the conversation going and be the best truth teller you can be.

As you can hear I have been pondering quite a bit of the last few weeks. Life held in the balance, waiting with hope for my friend. Waiting with hope and courage for healing, a miracle. Hope is all the little un-grabbable moments making up the present and searching for the rain and the colors. Hope is love in real time and the courage to feel everything about that love. Hope is a continual invitation, longing for us all to engage with it. Nothing that really matters is ever lost, it can be the feeling of disappointment in motion and sitting beside still waters. I deeply hope that you find a glimmer of hope in the words I have written today. I hope that you experience hope in your bones and find rest as you walk it all out. I hope you experience the goodness of God in the land of the living and have the courage to keep showing up whatever the cost.

Have a hope-filled day full of seeing the little things that make up the bigger picture.

p.s My friend is fighting hard and her progress is full of hope. 

I Will Be With You!


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    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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